The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Documents associated with: 104th exhibition, Ouvrages de peinture, sculpture, architecture, gravure et lithographie des artistes vivants, Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 1886
Record 3 of 13

System Number: 00928
Date: 25 February 1886
Author: Helen Lenoir[1]
Place: London
Recipient: JW
Place: [London]
Repository: Glasgow University Library
Call Number: MS Whistler D134
Document Type: ALS


Feb 25 1886

Dear Mr Whistler,

I am so sorry it was not possible to go last night - I did not get your note in time to alter arrangements already made.

But perhaps had I gone I shouldn't have seen the room after all - but Mr Carte[2] has promised me he will write direct to Mr Leyland[3] and ask for permission for himself and [p. 2] me to see it - that will be best - I don't see how he can refuse -

I have got the Worlds and am sending out the cutting[4] - which is splendid.

I have had one or two more cuttings from America, but they have been pasted in the book - you shall see them when you next look in -

I sent the cable to the President Lotus Club[5] - I also cabled my manager[6] that your visit[7] was unavoidably postponed. I wrote on [p. 3] Saturday to say that you had been compelled to postpone your visit until autumn as as you found that your engagements in connection with the London spring Exhibitions and the Paris Salon would necessitate your returning here in April and we decided this would not leave sufficient time for you to visit all the places in America you desired to enlighten etc etc -

(so you will know)

yrs always

Helen Lenoir

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1.  Helen Lenoir
Helen Lenoir (1852-1913), née Coupar Black, actress and stage manager [more].

2.  Mr Carte
Richard D'Oyly Carte (1844-1901), impresario and property developer [more].

3.  Mr Leyland
Frederick Richards Leyland (1832-1892), ship-owner and art collector [more]. Carte and Lenoir wished to see Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room (YMSM 178), JW's decorative scheme for Leyland's dining room at No 49, Prince's Gate. JW and Leyland were no longer on speaking terms, having quarrelled over the cost of the scheme.

4.  cutting
Probably the sequence of letters published in The World on 17 and 24 February. They concerned the candidature of Henry ('Arry') Quilter (1851-1907), advocate and art critic [more], for the Slade Chair of Fine Art at the University of Cambridge. See correspondence between JW and 'Atlas' (Edmund Yates), #11400, #11401.

5.  President Lotus Club
The Lotus Club in New York.

6.  my manager
George Henry Hathaway (1843-1931), President of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau [more].

7.  visit
In February 1885, in the aftermath of JW's first delivery his aesthetic manifesto, the 'Ten O'Clock Lecture,' the idea of a lecture tour to America seems to have arisen. For a lengthy period between 1885 and 1886, JW was intent on making the trip (see references in correspondence including JW to W. Merritt Chase, #00593; H. Wunderlich to JW, #07153; JW to O. Maus, #09235). However, JW never actually made the journey. As well as JW's exhibition commitments, other contributing factors may have been his increasing involvement with the Society of British Artists (he was elected President on 1 June 1886) and his intensifying rivalry with Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wilde (1854-1900), writer, critic and playwright [more], who had preceded him with a lecture tour of America and Canada in 1882.